A New Jersey high school football coach says he was fired because he had too many black players on the team.
Football coach Nick Strom stated via the Courier Post that he has been fired as head football coach at Camden Catholic High School despite posting a 34-6 record during five years. Also, he has been placed on administrative leave as a history teacher. The school disputes that race played a part in Strom’s dismissal.
“I think this is from me not conforming with their viewpoints on what they want the student body and the football team to look like,” Strom stated. “I’ve tried to build this program into one that’s based on kids being of ability, high character and high grades. From day one, the administration told me they did not approve of the ratio of black to white students.”
Strom told the newspaper that half of the team consists of minorities. He claims that the race ratio of his teams came up approximately “10 to 20 times” from the school’s administration.
“When I’d have a list of potential freshmen, the first question I’d be asked is if they were white or black,” he said, per the Courier Post. “I was confused about why the question was, ‘How can we get more white players in the program or on the field?'”
The school’s president Mary Whipkey dismissed Strom’s allegations.
“We are not that kind of environment and we take it very seriously when those accusations are made,” Whipkey told the newspaper. “This is a special community here. We embrace our diversity here. Those accusations are not true.”
Strom advised the newspaper that he plans to file a grievance with the teachers union.
He revealed the letter that he received stating that his contract would not be renewed. Among the issues cited for his removal are “professional dress violations,” and “disrespect to the President after being questioned on your professional dress.” The school also accused Strom of leaving his classroom early to prepare for golf and abandoning his class in the hallway to talk to a college coach.
The 30-year-old Strom advised the Courier Post that he never had a discussion with Whipkey about not wearing a tie. He also explained that he asked a fellow teacher to watch his class as he unlocked the locker room for the golf team.
Per the newspaper, 25 people — including football players and parents — gathered in the parking lot of the school Monday morning in support of Strom. They met with administrators, who declined to answer their questions but listened to their viewpoint.
During school Monday, 22 students walked out of class.